Get Ready for the Quantified Sex Competition
Devices that measure your sex life and let you share it, too.
Gabrielle Moss's boyfriend was in mid-thrust behind her when she looked down at her FitBit. "We're at like 100 calories!" she yelled. "Do it harder!" She jotted down "doggy style," with the number of calories burned next to it, and then switched positions.
Moss, associate lifestyle editor at women's website Bustle, wore a Fitbit while having sex as an experiment to discover which sexual positions burned the most calories. After purchasing the rubbery wristband, Moss became obsessed with the ability to measure burning calories—but not in a weight loss way.
"The Fitbit kind of turned life into a game," Moss says. "Life is so vague. What you do in a certain day is so hard to quantify, but having some actual hard data to work with, makes you feel like you've accomplished something."
She began monitoring everyday life activities, to observe which ones were most calorie killing—from taking different routes to the subway, to comparing doggy style to cowgirl.
Since the advent of the Fitbit, walking to work has transformed from a mere commute, to getting amped up about beating your three-thousand-step record. Soon, sex will no longer be about intimacy or feeling fucking awesome, but rather your thrusts-performed-per-minute high score and beating your Facebook friend's G forces. At least, that's the goal for incoming sex toy developers like Jakub Konik.
"People are naturally competitive and have an innate need to share their achievements."
After one particularly bangin' night, Konik wondered about his sex-tistics. "I asked myself, 'I wonder how many calories we just burned?' and decided to search for an app or wearable that could measure such a thing. But I found nothing," Konik explained. "Then my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and I thought that it would be great to actually build something like that. I talked to sexologists, engineers and product designers [to see] if it's possible, and it was."
Lovely was conceived. Lovely is essentially a penis pedometer. The device sits on the base of your penis, extending upwards. This upward extension holds sensors that measure calories burned, speed, G forces, and types of positions performed.
But it doesn't stop there—Lovely also recommends personalized ideas and suggestions on how to improve your overused-missionary-position-subpar sex life.
"If Lovely learns that the couple likes oral sex, it may suggest them new stimulation techniques that allow for such stimulation," Konik says. "Another example would be a couple that is looking for longer encounters. Here, Lovely would suggest the couple to switch positions more often, which leads to prolonged intercourse."
People are becoming so obsessed with personal data, that it could potentially wreck their sex life, rather than improve it. Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, thinks that quantifying sex doesn't always translate into better sex. "Perhaps information [like G force, calories burned and duration] would open up conversations about sex for some couples. But the information isn't that useful in and of itself and it's certainly not going to help you have better sex," Marin says.
The opposite may even be true.
"Higher G force doesn't mean you're better in bed. In fact, some partners might balk at you jackhammering away," she explains. "Longer duration isn't necessarily better when it comes to sex, sometimes a quickie is really fucking hot and sometimes taking a long time to reach orgasm is a frustration."
The most disconcerting consequence of quantifying sex may be the competitive aspect, however.
"People are naturally competitive and have an innate need to share their achievements. [Sex] data is no different," Sarah Boulton, the spokesperson for Lovely's competitor, SexFit, explains. SexFit is like RoboCop's cock ring, but with Christmas lights. The device vibrates to a pre-set rhythm. Users are encouraged to match the rhythm with thrusts for most pleasurable stimulation and will illuminate when the rhythm is on point.
And like other fitness apps, you can share your results on social media—in case your grandma is wondering about your new thrust record, or better yet, wants to compare your score to hers. "Our device is a natural fit alongside the influx of these personal health trackers and with the added benefit of improving an individual's sex life, we expect it to be a huge hit when it becomes available," Boulton says. SexFit is currently going through beta testing and is set to launch in the spring of 2016.
But Marin advises her clients to avoid technology in the bedroom, in fact she advises setting aside time away from technology. "It's usually moving away from technology is what's most beneficial for my clients' sex life," Marin notes. "I think people need to be careful about making moments of actual human intimacy—where you're not connected to some gadget that's measuring your progress. It can get so overwhelming."